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Utility in WTP Space: A Tool to Address Confounding Random Scale Effects in Destination Choice to the Alps

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Abstract

Destination choice models with individual-specific taste variation have become the presumptive analytical approach in applied nonmarket valuation. Under the usual specification, tastes are represented by coefficients of site attributes that enter utility, and the distribution of these coefficients is estimated. The distribution of willingness-to-pay (WTP) for site attributes is then derived from the estimated distribution of coefficients. Though conceptually appealing this procedure often results in untenable distributions of willingness to pay. An alternative procedure is to estimate the distribution of willingness to pay directly, through a re-parameterization of the model. We compare hierarchical Bayes and maximum simulated likelihood estimates under both approaches, using data on site choice in the Alps. We find that models parameterized in terms of WTP provide more reasonable estimates for the distribution of WTP, and also fit the data better than models parameterized in terms of attribute coefficients. This approach to parameterizing utility is hence deemed promising for applied nonmarket valuation.

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File URL: ftp://mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/econwp/0615.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Waikato, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 06/15.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 15 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:06/15

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Keywords: mixed logit random utility parameters; random willingness to pay; travel cost method; destination choice modeling;

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  13. Edward Morey & Kathleen Greer Rossmann, 2003. "Using Stated-Preference Questions to Investigate Variations in Willingness to Pay for Preserving Marble Monuments: Classic Heterogeneity, Random Parameters, and Mixture Models," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 215-229, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Collins, Jill P. & Vossler, Christian A., 2009. "Incentive compatibility tests of choice experiment value elicitation questions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 226-235, September.
  2. Doherty, Edel & Campbell, Danny & Hynes, Stephen & van Rensburg, Tom M., 2011. "The effect of using labelled alternatives in stated choice experiments: an exploration focusing on farmland walking trails in Ireland," 85th Annual Conference, April 18-20, 2011, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 108792, Agricultural Economics Society.
  3. Scarpa Riccardo & Thiene Mara & Marangon Francesco, 2007. "The Value of Collective Reputation for Environmentally-Friendly Production Methods: The Case of Val di Gresta," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-28, September.
  4. Mara Thiene & Riccardo Scarpa, 2009. "Deriving and Testing Efficient Estimates of WTP Distributions in Destination Choice Models," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(3), pages 379-395, November.
  5. Bart Vermeulen & Peter Goos & Riccardo Scarpa & Martina Vandebroek, 2011. "Bayesian Conjoint Choice Designs for Measuring Willingness to Pay," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(1), pages 129-149, January.
  6. Mara Thiene & Marco Boeri & Caspar Chorus, 2012. "Random Regret Minimization: Exploration of a New Choice Model for Environmental and Resource Economics," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 51(3), pages 413-429, March.
  7. Doherty, Edel & Campbell, Danny & Hynes, Stephen & van Rensburg, Thomas, 2012. "Labelling effects in discrete choice experiments," Working Papers 148831, Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit, National University of Ireland, Galway.

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